Sunday, 18 October 2009

Italy's Island of Fantastic Fishes

I admit that i have an obsession with fish so with every visit to anywhere i will seek out the aquarium, the fish market, fishmonger or fishing port. On my recent honeymoon to the Island of Ischia i was a little spoiled as this area of Italy really depends on fish to fill their busy restaurants.

Externally this could be the prettiest front to a fishmongers i have ever seen. It was situated in Ischia Ponte just before the headland to the castle. It really was an eye catcher, but sadly the fish inside, mainly farmed Orata and Spigola were of fairly poor quality.

At the start of the causeway that leads to the castle i found a concrete pontoon that yielded a small collection of fishing boats selling their fare in some of the most breathtaking surroundings.

This fisherman obviously takes care of his catch as his fish were carefully kept in salt water that he continually re-freshed. In this picture he was selling a large red octopus to a delighted Signora. It was still alive and about 1.2kgs (my estimate) in size. Price was about 20 euros per Kilo. The middle blue tub was full of cuttlefish.

Our man also had a nice collection of rock dwellers such as wrasse, weavers and small scorpion fish.

The sale comes to an end but what was noticeable was the lack of bargaining. The fishermen valued their product and no-body questioned their prices.

Mending their small tatty nets. Can't believe they ever catch anything with their gear.

I stumbled across a busy food market in a town called Casamicciola that had a small covered fish stall. Bear in mind the temperature was approaching 27 and not a cube of ice was to be seen!!

The stall, albeit not the best quality, had some very interesting species. My first spot of the famous gambero rosso, huge cuttlefish and a box of garfish.

This was the largest fish stall i found, again void of ice. It was also situated in the town of Casamicciola.

He was selling a large, may be too large, selection of fish with some impressive swordfish, rascasse and tuna and some not so impressive bass, bream, mullet and so on. We had beautiful weather whilst on Ischia with not a cloud in the sky. After visiting this mongers i realised he had all the clouds pasted to his fishes eyes! His shop needed a clean up too. That aside displays like this allow you to see what local fish species are available.

These two pictures are common site in Ischia Porto where the busy restaurants are competing for tourist diners. Among the amazing swordfish, scorpion fish and red bream are defrosting langoustine, farmed turbot and old farmed bream. Why???

1 comment:

  1. What a massive cuttlefish... and I'm always interested by garfish... what can you do with them?